If you've read my other reviews you know I'm extremely critical about the food in Lincoln. That being said, I think El Chaparro is the best Mexican place in town. I've never eaten at the north Lincoln location, just at the South 13th location. I've had several items on the menu, and almost all of them were great. From 5 chorizo tacos on soft corn shells with cilantro and onions for 5 bucks, to the Chipotle chicken, it was all wonderful. You have several choices of meats, and they can be your choice in almost any dish. The menu selection is huge, with several seafood items available. I'm still working my way through the entire menu, and it's been a real treat. The service is great, the servers are all extremely nice and capable, and I've rarely gotten a wrong order other than on a couple of take outs. The place is open late, but there is a crowd usually around 9-11 in the evening. No matter what time you go, you're guaranteed a great meal!
The food was better than expected with a name like O'Kelly's on a Mexican restaurant. The salsa was remarkably fresh for late winter- great tomato flavor. The rest was a bit better than average. Tap beer selection was poor but the Margarita's were the obvious choice around the tables ( did not try one). Wait staff was a bit too cheery for me, helpful but less than sincere, but we did dine just ahead of closing.
The tamales here are the best in Lincoln. Too bad the rest of the food isn't as good. Everything seems to be made exactly the same, with either a different sauce or different meat, but it all has the same taste and the same texture. The vegetarian is really bland and unimaginative. I have to agree that this is NOT a Mexican restaurant. It's a Americanized version, and a boring one at that.